All patients with ankylosing spondylitis attending our rheumatology clinics were reviewed to assess the effect of their disease on employment. Back movement was measured in three planes, chest expansion determined, and peripheral joint involvement was noted to see whether these correlated with work capability. Sixty patients were reviewed (47 men, 13 women; mean disease duration 24.3 years). Nine were unemployed, but only four of these attributed this condition to ankylosing spondylitis. Although all four had severe neck, back, and hip involvement, this did not differentiate them from other patients who were fully employed. There was no relationship between disease duration and employment. The prospect for continued employment in ankylosing spondylitis is good even when the disease is long standing and severe.
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